The Post Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune Review began their run of 2007 Pittsburgh Pirate Spring Training coverage today with a Q & A featuring Jim Tracy and a list of the Top Ten issues facing the Pirates this year over at the PG and the Trib featured the Pirates Building Blocks preview.
Among the most interesting questions and answers exchanged between Dejan and Tracy:
Q: You have said Jose Castillo must win back his starting job, and that Jose Bautista will have a chance to take it. What kind of challenge is Castillo facing to impress management?
A: You know what? I'm not going to single out Castillo or get into a big dissertation about him.
He's not facing any obstacles, OK? He's not going to be any different from anybody else. Jose Castillo knows from conversations that we've had -- and I'm not going to get into specifics -- what kind of a baseball player I think he is. I think he has as much natural ability as any player on our ballclub or in our system.
Q: Wilson publicly criticized Castillo last month and, at the same time, challenged Castillo to perform up to his potential. How did you feel about that?
A: I think those are situations that you handle in-house. If you've got something that you need to talk to a teammate about -- like some of those comments that made it into print -- I just feel like those are things that can be handled behind closed doors. As you know, that's how I've handled a number of things in the past year.
Q: Last spring, the team had pleasant surprises in Bautista, Nate McLouth and Matt Capps. If you had to pick one player who might do that this year, who would it be?
A: I would say Ryan Doumit.
Q: Can the Pirates contend in the Central Division this year?
A: You know what? Who knows? I don't like getting involved in predictions, so I won't. But I will say this: I think we're very capable of picking up where we left off in 2006.
Among Dejan's Top Ten Issues, Will the Pirates Win, What will happen with the Jose's, How will Adam LaRoche handle the pressure and who will be the Pirates fifth starter?